Toulon, located on the beautiful French Riviera in the Var department of southern France, is a vibrant coastal city with a rich history and stunning natural beauty. From its picturesque harbor to its charming old town, Toulon offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Toulon:
1. Old Town (Le Mourillon)
Explore the narrow streets and charming squares of Toulon’s Old Town. Admire the historic architecture, visit the Cathedral of Sainte-Marie-Majeure, and wander through the colorful Provençal market, where you can find fresh produce, local delicacies, and souvenirs.
2. Mont Faron
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mont_Faron
Take a cable car ride to the top of Mont Faron for breathtaking panoramic views of Toulon and the Mediterranean Sea. At the summit, you can visit the Memorial Museum of the Allied Landings in Provence, which provides insights into the region’s role during World War II.
3. Toulon Opera House (Opéra de Toulon)
If you appreciate the performing arts, don’t miss the opportunity to attend a show at the Toulon Opera House. With its stunning neoclassical architecture and a diverse program of opera, ballet, and classical music, it is a cultural gem in the heart of the city.
4. Musée National de la Marine
Delve into Toulon’s maritime heritage by visiting the National Maritime Museum. Housed in the historic Arsenal of Toulon, the museum showcases an extensive collection of ship models, naval artifacts, and exhibits that highlight the city’s naval history.
5. Plage du Mourillon
Relax and soak up the sun at the beautiful Plage du Mourillon. This sandy beach, located just a short distance from the city center, offers crystal-clear waters, beachside restaurants, and a vibrant atmosphere. It’s an ideal spot to unwind and enjoy the Mediterranean coastline.
6. Mayol Market
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Experience the lively atmosphere of a traditional French market at Mayol Market. Located near the city center, this bustling market offers a wide variety of fresh produce, cheeses, meats, and other local products. It’s a great place to sample regional specialties and immerse yourself in the local culture.
7. Musée d’Art
Art enthusiasts should visit the Musée d’Art, which houses an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art. The museum features works by renowned artists, both French and international, and offers a glimpse into the vibrant art scene of Toulon.
8. Place de la Liberté
Spend some time at Place de la Liberté, the main square in Toulon. Admire the beautiful fountain and surrounding architecture, enjoy a coffee or a meal at one of the outdoor cafes, and take in the lively atmosphere of this bustling gathering place.
9. Excursions to Nearby Islands
Toulon is an excellent starting point for day trips to the nearby islands of Porquerolles, Port-Cros, and Île du Levant. These pristine islands offer stunning beaches, hiking trails, and clear waters for snorkeling and diving.
10. Stade Mayol
If you’re a sports fan, make sure to catch a rugby match at Stade Mayol. The stadium is home to RC Toulon, one of the most successful rugby clubs in France. Immerse yourself in the electrifying atmosphere and witness the passion of the local fans.
11. Toulon Naval Base
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Take a guided tour of the Toulon Naval Base, one of the largest military harbors in Europe. Learn about the French Navy’s operations, explore historic ships, and gain insight into the country’s naval defense system. Note that advance reservations are required for the tour.
12. Château de la Tour Royal
Venture outside the city to visit the Château de la Tour Royal in nearby La Seyne-sur-Mer. This historic fortress offers stunning views of the Mediterranean and houses a museum dedicated to the area’s maritime heritage.
13. Wine Tasting in Bandol
Toulon is located near the renowned Bandol wine region, known for its exceptional red, white, and rosé wines. Embark on a wine tour and indulge in tastings at local vineyards, where you can discover the unique flavors of the region and learn about the winemaking process.
14. The Old Town’s Gastronomy
Toulon’s Old Town is not only visually charming but also a food lover’s paradise. Sample local delicacies at traditional restaurants, such as bouillabaisse (a fish stew), socca (chickpea pancake), and pissaladière (onion and anchovy tart). Don’t forget to pair your meal with a glass of refreshing local rosé wine.
15. Cap Sicié
Explore the natural beauty of Cap Sicié, a picturesque headland located a short distance from Toulon. Hike along the scenic trails, enjoy breathtaking views of the coastline, and discover hidden coves and beaches that are perfect for a peaceful day by the sea.
16. Théâtre Liberté
Catch a performance at Théâtre Liberté, a contemporary theater located in the heart of Toulon. The theater hosts a wide range of artistic productions, including plays, dance performances, and live music shows, providing a platform for both established and emerging artists.
17. Musée d’Histoire Naturelle
Visit the Musée d’Histoire Naturelle de Toulon et du Var to explore the region’s natural history. The museum features exhibits on geology, paleontology, botany, and zoology, showcasing the diverse flora and fauna of the area.
18. Jardin Alexandre Ier
Take a peaceful stroll through the Jardin Alexandre Ier, a lovely public garden located near the harbor. Admire the beautifully manicured flower beds, fountains, and sculptures while enjoying a moment of tranquility amidst the city.
19. Toulon Cathedral
Pay a visit to the Toulon Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Seds de Toulon), a striking example of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Step inside to admire the intricate stained glass windows and ornate interior.
20. Shopping on Rue d’Alger
Explore the vibrant shopping street of Rue d’Alger, known for its trendy boutiques, fashion stores, and artisanal shops. Indulge in some retail therapy, pick up unique souvenirs, or simply enjoy the lively atmosphere of this bustling street.
21. Toulon Zoo (Zoo du Mont Faron)
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If you’re traveling with family or have a fondness for animals, a visit to the Toulon Zoo is a great choice. Located on Mont Faron, the zoo is home to a wide variety of animal species, including big cats, primates, reptiles, and birds.
22. Les Plages du Mourillon
Discover the beautiful beaches of Les Plages du Mourillon, a popular area for sunbathing and water activities. Enjoy a refreshing swim in the Mediterranean Sea or simply relax on the sandy shores, soaking up the coastal ambiance.
23. Local Cuisine
Sample the local cuisine of Toulon at its many restaurants and bistros. Savor traditional Provençal dishes such as ratatouille, bouillabaisse, and tapenade, accompanied by regional wines. Don’t forget to try the famous local specialty, the Tarte Tropézienne, a delicious cream-filled pastry.
24. La Capitainerie
Enjoy an evening at La Capitainerie, a lively entertainment district near the harbor. This area is known for its bars, pubs, and nightclubs, offering a vibrant nightlife scene where you can dance, socialize, and have a memorable night out.
25. Calanques de Cassis
Embark on a day trip to the nearby Calanques de Cassis, a stunning series of fjord-like inlets with turquoise waters and dramatic cliffs. Take a boat tour or hike the trails to discover these natural wonders and enjoy the breathtaking coastal scenery.
26. Musée des Arts Asiatiques
Immerse yourself in the beauty of Asian art at the Musée des Arts Asiatiques. This museum showcases a remarkable collection of artworks from various Asian cultures, including China, Japan, India, and Southeast Asia.
27. Corniche Tamaris
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Take a scenic drive or leisurely walk along the Corniche Tamaris, a picturesque coastal road that offers stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. Enjoy the fresh sea breeze and stop at one of the charming seaside cafes for a drink or a meal.
28. Place Puget
Visit Place Puget, a lively square in the heart of Toulon named after the famous French sculptor Pierre Puget. Admire the impressive statue in the center of the square and relax at one of the outdoor cafes while soaking up the vibrant ambiance.
29. Porte d’Italie
Explore the historic Porte d’Italie, a preserved city gate that once served as the entrance to Toulon’s old fortifications. Marvel at the impressive architecture and imagine the city’s past as you walk through this historical landmark.
30. Plage de Pipady
Discover Plage de Pipady, a beautiful sandy beach located in the neighborhood of Le Mourillon. This family-friendly beach offers calm waters, making it ideal for swimming and sunbathing. Enjoy a picnic on the shore and take in the scenic surroundings.
31. Boat Tour to Ile des Embiez
Take a boat tour to the stunning Ile des Embiez, a small island just off the coast of Toulon. Explore the island’s pristine beaches, nature trails, and vineyards. You can also visit the Oceanographic Institute and Museum, which focuses on marine life and conservation.
32. Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
Discover the vibrant underwater world of Toulon by engaging in scuba diving or snorkeling activities. Explore the rich marine biodiversity, including colorful fish, coral reefs, and underwater caves, for an unforgettable aquatic adventure.
33. Local Festivals and Events
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Check the calendar for local festivals and events that may be taking place during your visit to Toulon. From music festivals to traditional celebrations, these events offer a chance to experience the city’s cultural heritage and enjoy lively performances and entertainment.
34. Anse de Méjean
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Escape the crowds and discover the hidden gem of Anse de Méjean. This secluded cove is known for its crystal-clear waters and pristine surroundings. It’s an ideal spot for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying a tranquil beach experience.
35. Chapelle de la Garde
Take a short hike up to Chapelle de la Garde, a charming chapel perched on a hilltop overlooking Toulon. The climb is rewarded with stunning panoramic views of the city, the harbor, and the surrounding landscape.
36. Parc des Lices
Enjoy some leisurely time at Parc des Lices, a spacious park in the city center. Take a walk amidst the lush greenery, relax on the benches, or challenge your friends to a game of pétanque, a popular French ball sport.
37. Art Galleries
Toulon boasts a vibrant art scene, and art enthusiasts can explore numerous galleries showcasing contemporary works. Visit Galerie Art Pluriel, Galerie du Canon, or Galerie des Cônes to discover local and international artists.
Places and Things To Do